Happiness can’t be bought, but it can be created: 3 ideas for building the life you want

I used to think happiness was this elusive thing that you needed to search for. In my mind, it was right up there with the rumored pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, or the fountain of youth.

I spent way too much time defining happiness in the wrong way. I focused on how I didn’t have it, cursing it for not “coming” to me, and thinking that happiness is something that just “happens” instead of thinking of it as a tangible thing that I can build for myself. I actually had to reach the bottom floor of a personal breakdown before I figured out that happiness really can’t be bought in any form and that is not just something that appears randomly one day.

For me, reaching the bottom allowed me to see how I could create happiness for myself. If you are starting to feel as if a tumble down might be necessary before you can really get started building the life you want, I have some ideas for you:

Name Your Fear.
This is the first step toward creating happiness for yourself. Why? Because your fears are usually the main thing blocking you. Think about it: What scares you? What is the thing that keeps you up at night?  Have you ever acknowledged your fear out loud?

Fear of not being successful is what keeps me up at night. Prior to making some changes in my life, I was spending way too much time subscribing to my own limiting beliefs. One day I decided to write down, “I am afraid of not being successful” on a sheet of paper. Next, I wrote down all of the reasons why lack of success freaks me out.  I discovered that the real thing I am afraid of is not “appearing” to be successful.  I realized that this directly relates to some of the unwise decisions I have made in the past few years.

You may never get over the fear (I still fear being perceived as an unsuccessful person), but I am able to keep it in check and tell it to shut the hell up when I need to.  Acknowledging what freaks you out helps you to move forward. Naming the fear helps you see it and control it.

Caring About What Others Think Is A Waste of Time.
Once you name the fear, you might realize that the thing you are scared of has more to do with other people than it does with you. I pride myself on being a strong woman who is capable of going after what I want, but I somewhere deep inside I want people to approve of the moves I make.

Putting too much emphasis on caring  about what people think of you, your dreams, your ideas, your plans, is detrimental to any desire you have to build a life that works for you. It hurts to think that people don’t approve of what you are doing, but it’s your life. Why waste time building your life around someone’s vision for yourself just because you are afraid of what they may think?

Break Rules Frequently
At this age, the pressure to conform is tremendous. Everyone wants us to play by the rules society has set up for us. Honestly, most of these “rules” are silly sayings that get repeated until people accept them.  As we age, it becomes difficult for us to do something different. While I was in L. A., my friends and I were discussing the whole “You must stay in a job for X amount of years” rule. The more we talked about it, the more we could identify it as a load of crap.  Why should you stick out the misery instead of finding an opportunity that would challenge you and make you happy to do what you do because of some stupid societal rule?  Break “rules” as you see fit.

Tell me, what do you think is blocking you from creating happiness?


  1. Lorelie Rivera says:

    Your message rendered me speechless. Glad that someone like appreciates my thoughts and writings. Your blog definitely widens my perspective with regards to staying positive and an optimist.

  2. Your idea of happiness is a clear representation of my current situation. Indeed we cannot achieve a genuine amount of happiness from material things  or from the specific notion that we want to embody. It is true that taking risks and breaking rules redefines our human nature – being challenged and motivated often lead us to a complete state of contentment and wide arrays of accomplishments. Happiness is a great possibility if each of us, possess a clear and open mind and brave enough to pursue a lifelong journey that awaits us.

  3. alice says:

    i couldn’t have put it better myself. i constantly worry about what others will think … even though i know it does not matter !!! thank you for putting this into words!

  4. CJ says:

    I think what blocks me from creating happiness is fear of failure. The fear of not living up to some other peoples standards, ideas, and ways of life has held me back. Creating my own lane has been a struggle for me, but just the thoughts that I can map out what makes me happy and actually do it takes a load off of my shoulders. (Inhale… exhale… I feel better already!) Thanks for the great post right when I needed it:)

    • Amber J. says:

      Fear of failure freaks out a lot of people. And isn’t it amazing how when you really think about where that fear is coming from, it has a lot to do with a fear of not living up to other’s perceptions of you? Sounds as if you are on the road to rocking out your life 🙂

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